In 2021, we reached out to the owners of a derelict site on the Quay. Hidden behind a curtain of foliage is the facade of a late Medieval Merchant's house and we wanted to know more.
Townland: BURGAGERY-LANDS WEST
Description: On the quayside W of Collet's Lane and at the rear of No. 31-32 O'Connell Street (Emerald Garden Chinese Restaurant). Lyons (1954-5, 26) relates a popular tradition that this building was associated with a monastic order, however, there is no historical documentation to support this contention. Long, rectangular two-storey building (dims. 17.9m x 4.55m; wall T 1.1m) of which only the S wall, S end of E gable and badly overgrown W gable are upstanding. The greater part of the S wall which faces onto the river is ivy-clad and continuous burning of rubbish against the base of the wall at it W end has caused blackening and fracturing of masonry. Constructed of well mortared roughly coursed sandstone rubble with large roughly cut sandstone quoins employed at the SE and SW angles. There is a discreet base-batter and the lower quoins are slightly rounded. It was entered at ground-floor leval via a rectangular sandstone doorway at the W end of the S wall. The jambstones are chamfered and a fragment of hood-moulding with label stop survives. The three remaining ground-floor opes were broken through in more recent times. Extant features of the building include an intra-mural garderobe positioned at the E end of the S wall on the first floor, lit by a small rectangular ope with the garderobe outlet at the base of the external wall face. There are the remains of eight large crudely executed water spouts in the upper masonry courses of the S wall. There appear to have been originally four windows at first-floor level, however, only the remains of a former two-light rectangular window survive, comprising rudimentary mullion and fractured hood-moulding. Internally the ground floor appears to have had four vaulted embrasures. Three corbels project out of the S wall internally at first-floor level. The extant masonry of the E gable is featureless and the W gable is so badly overgrown that none of its features were discernible, except a large fireplace at first-floor level, only the S jamb of which survives (Holland 1992, 201). (Farrelly and FitzPatrick 1993, 72-3).
Compiled by: Jean Farrelly
This monument is subject to a preservation order made under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2014 (PO no. 6/2001).
1. Farrelly, J. and FitzPatrick, E. 1993 Urban archaeological survey - county Tipperary (South Riding) (2 vols.). Unpublished report commissioned by the Office of Public Works, Dublin.
2. Holland, P. 1992 A carved stone and other late medieval fragments in Clonmel. Tipperary Historical Journal, 197-201.
3. Holland, P. 1994 Late medieval structures in Clonmel: further remarks. Tipperary Historical Journal, 175-7.
4. Lyons, P. 1954-5 The burgh of Clonmel. Journal of the Clonmel Historical and Archaeological Society, 3, 20-27.
Taken from Historic Environment Viewer
This year our work on the Merchants House on the Quay has primarily revolved around maintenance of the site and ensuring it does not fall into further dereliction. We continue to engage with the Heritage department of the Borough Council to try and access a funding stream that will allow a survey of the site and thus enable a plan to conserve it going forward. To date we have been unsuccessful in our funding applications but we continue to engage with the council to explore any new funding opportunities that may present themselves.
Coming to the end of the year, we returned once more to the merchants house.
Working closely with the heritage department of the council, funding was applied with which to survey the site and plan for future work. Unfortunately the funding application was not successful. While we wait for the next round of funding to see if any are applicable, we continue to work on the site as much as we can and continue to raise awareness with the public regarding its importance as a historic reminder of the heritage of our town.
A number of derelict spaces in Clonmel are regularly discussed with council members and while adding them to the List of Derelict sites is an option, we choose to try and engage with the owners of one site in particular. The site contains the facade of a house from 1650. We think this would be a wonderful site to be engaged with from a historical, cultural and promotional aspect. Discussion in December 2020 lead Tidy Towns to begin the effort to track down the owners.
Having found the owner and explained our ideas with them, they expressed interest in doing what they can to ensure the preservation of the facade which due to long neglect, have become completely over-grown. Worst of all, sycamore trees have taken root. Tidy towns are in contact with the environmental section of the council to see what can be done to preserve and promote this wonderful aspect of Clonmel History. It is really just the start of the journey and going forward we will plan with all interested parties for the security of the site.